Saturday, March 26, 2016

Around Every Bend, There's a New Discovery

Around every bend there's a new discovery.
After living in Bayside Mentone for over thirty years, thing become same, same. Living here in Victoria's Central Highlands, every drive, every bike ride hits you with new discoveries. 

Only last Wednesday I dropped off the car for some minor work. Our nearest Citroen specialist is 40 kms away so I normally put the bike in the car and ride home. On this occasion I decided to take an alternative road and discovered an oasis in the parched land of the Castlemaine/Chewton district. I decided that I wanted to show Sue some of the delightful scenes that I discover on my morning bike rides so this Friday afternoon I retraced my ride in the car. She was quite astounded by what see saw and sat on a raise piece of granite taking in the peacefulness of the lake, the ducks, the people in kayaks and also chatting with the passing walkers. Yes, people stop for a chat in the country unlike city people who are in a rush to somewhere else. (We were them until recently)

The Expedition Reservoir was formed during the 1860s to supply water to the Forest Creek water wheel battery used to crush the quartz about 10 kms further down the gully. The name came from the Scottish Explorer's expedition through the area. Major Thomas Mitchell's discovery of the area as you can see from the map below takes in the town we currently live, Kyneton. Mt Macedon nearby which he named and the area of Castlemaine/Chewton.

When we were at the reservoir some local cyclists informed us of a quartz crushing battery and how to get there - we took the road, a corrugated gravel path that took us deep into the rocky, desolate forest of the past gold fields of the 1850s to discover the ruins of the structure you see below.
The water wheel was supposedly the largest in the state with a diameter of 72 feet.

I'll try to get more of our discoveries on the Blog but for the time being, we seemed to be just absorbing the drives that bring a new discovery around every bend.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lost Trades Fair

Yes, I know, I've been awfully slack on the blog but we can't believe how busy it has been since moving to the country. We are blessed with family and friends visiting our Life in the Country. This Easter weekend is our first free weekend. So much is happening in this region of Victoria.

There has been the "Taste of Kyneton" and two weeks later the "Lost Trades Fair" where there was maybe 20,000 visitors over the weekend period. The Lost Trades Fair was an exhibition of past arts that is being regenerated in today's world of the disposable environment.

The following photos explain these lost trades that still can be found in our region - that is if you look hard enough.

Every year Kyneton host the Lost Arts Fair - It grows each year.
You can dance to medival music if you wish.

Or buy hand made hats.

Then there's handcrafted clocks.

This man makes wicker side cars for your motor cycle.

I spent some time watching this man make a stone wall without mortor.

Real craft in the restoration of old time street rods.

Bicycles of the past faithfully reproduced today from scratch.

A man with the piant brush skills where the computer now riegns supreme.

Wood sculpturing of Australia's bushland history.

Wood sculpure from the Aussie bushland.
Pigs may fly
There seems that every weekend in the local district has something to draw people out to enjoy the Central highlands of Victoria. This weekend is no exception with our future home of Trentham having an Arts Festival as well as its Sunday market.

As you may well wonder why this blog may have become intermittently dormant. Retirement should allow more time for such indulgences.

PS: I officially announced my retirement date as April 15 -Groovy!!!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

A Morning Walk along the banks of the Campaspe River

I don't think that you will ever discover the hidden pleasures of a location unless you actually live there. Visitors help you discover these hidden pleasures as you find ways to entertain them. 

This weekend we had guests of which one is an avid photographer and I took them on a morning walk along the Campaspe River that circles our town of Kyneton. 
The Campaspe River begins its journey from the foothills of the great dividing range, within the Wombat Forest not that far from Trentham where we are building. It meanders to Woodend and then to Kyneton while continuing all the way to the Murray River near Echuca on the border of Victoria and New South Wales - a journey of 232 kms.

The general area has suffered from 2 years of minimal rainfall and so the Campaspe is currently a series of billabongs or areas of water not going anywhere. As you walk along the river path, you discover that in the early part of last century, the town's folk built a river swimming pool, bridges of bluestone pillars that allowed you to cross the river and overlook the pool where the locals could cool off during the peak summer season.  As we walked along the river path, I meet one of my recent cycling friends who is part of the "Friends of the Campaspe" and he was able to enlighten us to the work that the group are undertaking to improve the quality of the river.

We saw many trees stumps along each side of the river bank and wondered why you would do this. We were told that these trees were willows and that they clog the river-way. Having felled these trees, the group have begun to plant many more eco friendly trees, more suitable to the river. 
It certainly is quite idyllic and as we walked the river path, we discovered many of the locals walking their dogs, jogging or riding their bikes and each had a friendly hello for us. So much different from the big city.

The still waters of the Campaspe River due to two years of drought.

Between these two concrete barriers is the early swimming pool from early last century.

High on the hill overlooking both the Campaspe River and the town of Kyneton is the first hospital built (1859) of the most common material available in the district - Bluestone. It was where we began our walk.

High on the hill overlooking the Campaspe River in Kyneton is the derelict hospital made of bluestone with an iron lace veranda.